where "word of keystroke" begins

October 30, 1997 -- The Social Web: varieties of "community" experience

Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, October 30, 1997. These sessions are normally scheduled for 12 noon-1 PM Eastern Time (GMT -5) every Thursday.

These sessions are hosted by Richard Seltzer. If you would like to receive email reminders of our chat sessions, simply send a blank email message to or go to and sign up there.

For transcripts of previous sessions and a list of future topics, click here .

For an article on how to make "business chat" work (based on this experience), click here .

Since the chat itself happens at a rapid pace, it's often difficult to note interesting facts in particular URLs as they appear on-line. Here's a place to take a more leisurely look. I've rearranged some of the pieces to try to capture the various threads of discussion (which sometimes get lost in the rush of live chat).

Please send email with your follow-on questions and comments, and suggestions for topics we should focus on in future sessions. So long as the volume of email responses is manageable, I'll post the most pertinent ones here for all to see.

Threads (reconstructed after the fact):

Today's participants


Blair Anderson -- Yes, just joined, wondering.. what time is it in Boston
right now..??

Blair Anderson-- Looks like every one has disappeared.. dang.. I shall revisit in an hour...

Blair Anderson -- Hmm, no one about.. I assume the time is 11:08 AM ?? in Boston..

MikeFromRussia -- Hi!

MikeFromRussia -- Blair, how are you! I'm Michael Korotaev from Russia... We are two only... ;-)

Richard Seltzer -- Blair and Mike -- Hang in there, we'll be starting in about 10 minutes. The US switched from daylight savings to standard time, so it's now GMT -5, instead of GMT -4. Sorry for the confusion.

Richard Seltzer -- Welcome Tom, and Bill Ross, and Ethan. Glad to see folks connecting early. We'll "officially" get started in about five minutes.

ethan -- Rich - Happy to be here. Thanks for the invitation.

Richard Seltzer -- Welcome Sean. We're just about ready to get started.

sean -- Hi Rich. Getting used to this chat system...

ethan -- Rich - Is this your chat system (i.e., did you write the code)?

Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- This chat software is a public domain cgi script,
edited and modified by the folks at Web-net. I'm very pleased with how it works -- no need for plug-ins, no hassle with firewalls, and a good look and feel.

Richard Seltzer -- All -- we're back, after a three week break. I was speaking in Vienna, Moscow, and London. Good trip. Came back with lots of thoughts about Russia and the Internet. And I'm anxious to continue our discussion about the "social web" I'm glad to see that Ethan is here from Tripod. I'd like to hear what's happening there and what their plans are. (By the way, I just got a phone call from Chris Locke, who is having PC problems and may not be able to connect with us today.)

Richard Seltzer -- MikefromRussia -- where are you in Russia? And by chance, did our paths cross when I was over there?

Richard Seltzer -- All -- please introduce yourselves as you come on. Let us know who you are, where you are, and something about your interests. That will help us get the discussion going quickly.

TracyM -- Hello all. I'm Tracy Marks, a Boston area Internet trainer...

ethan -- By way of introduction: I'm Ethan Zuckerman, VP of Business Development for Tripod, Inc. We're located at (and in real life in Williamstown, MA). Tripod is a 60-person firm dedicated to enabling personal publishing and to building communities on the web.

Miki Dzugan -- Hi! Miki Dzugan here. Had a little problem with the form coming up to get started.

John Watkins -- Have tried to send message two times and got cut off. What am I doing wrong?

Richard Seltzer -- John -- It works best if you choose Frames. In no-frames, the screen will suddenly be refreshed when you are in the middle of writing a message. You might want to log-in again with Frames. Sorry.

TracyM -- Here's a process comment...I just discovered. Netscape users with small monitors, go to options and turn off all your toolbars to have more screen space while chatting....

Richard Seltzer -- Tracy -- yes, I turn off all my toolbars by habit now, when I come to this chat area. And I move the dividing bar to maximize the text area.

Bill Dunlap -- Hi, all. I'm Bill Dunlap from Global Promote here in San Francisco. We're the company that builds Website traffic around the world (mainly outside English-language countries).

Sudha Jamthe -- Hi Richard: How are you doing? I am Sudha, I work architecting intranets and lead Web-Net group.

Tom Dadakis -- Hi I'm Tom Dadakis. I logged in before I left for a meeting; now I'll just try to catch up. I am the web manager for a wall street investment bank trying to get their internal training online globally.

Richard Seltzer -- Looks like a lot of folks have joined us -- too many for me to mention. Please, all, introduce yourselves -- let us know who you are, where you are, and what your interests are, so we can better focus our discussion and move it along.

Kaye Vivian -- Hi Richard and all, nice to be back! Kaye Vivian, marketing communications consultant. Sorry to be late...had a little trouble getting logged in to Web-Net today. Must just be a slow period.:) 


Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- I'm very interested in the long-term and unexpected effects of millions of people having their own home pages, and people being able to find one another with search engines like AltaVista. The whole concept of giving free and/or very inexpensive Web space to individuals is amazing. How did Tripod get into this? What that the seed of your business? Or was it an add-on? And where do you plan to go from here?

ethan -- Tripod started offering free homepages in early 1995, largely as a lark. We had no idea that it would turn out to be central to our business.

ethan -- As we started getting more and more users building pages (over 250,000 now), we realized that what was going on was truly a revolution.

ethan -- Now we've embraced the notion that enabling personal publishing is central to our vision and mission. We're working on better tools and on methods to allow publishers to get in touch with one another.

Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- Is the homepage stuff central to your revenue stream? In other words, is 2 Mbytes a free potato chip, and many folks ask for more (the premium [but still low cost] service)? Or once having brought all these people in, does your business build in other directions?

ethan -- Rich - Tripod is largely advertising supported. 75% of our traffic comes from member pages, so our member pages provide the majority of our inventory. Users who upgrade to 10MB of disk space pay a subscription fee, but that's not our primary revenue stream.

TracyM -- Ethan, I'm wondering how Tripod differs from Geocities.

ethan -- Tracy - Great question. Geocities is our chief competitor. We differ in some matters of philosophy. We produce a lot of professional content, which we feel acts as a seed for good community interaction. And we try to build smaller and more intimate communities than Geocities neighborhoods.

TracyM -- Ethan - I'm also wondering what helps to build as you say "more intimate" communities.....

ethan -- Tracy - More - Pods are more intimate in the sense that they're 50-200 people united by a common interest, like running a small business. As the communities grow much larger than 500, we want them to "bud" into smaller, more manageable communities.

Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- another major difference between Geocities and Tripod today is that pages at Tripod can easily be added to the index at AltaVista and pages at Geocities cannnot. I'm not quite sure why it works out that way, but it's extremely important; since that means that pages at Tripod can be found, can attract significant traffic.

TracyM -- Indexing by search engines is a significant difference. I have about 30 pages of my Internet training notes up for students at Geocities, and can't get them indexed....

ethan -- Rich - Search engines are getting very picky about what pages they accept. While Altavista treats us kindly, not all engines do. The same is true for Geocities. They're well indexed by Lycos, for example...

ethan -- More color on the search engines for everyone - Search engines were never intended to index every page on the web. Most are set up to look for 20-10 "key" pages from each website. Tripod's site has over 1 million HTML documents by 250,000+ authors... obviously 20-100 pages is not going to do us justice in an indexing scheme. But engines are starting to block submissions from Tripod and Geocities because they can't handle our size...

Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- I believe that the search engine problem has to do with sniffers they've created to prevent "spamming". Such programs aren't yet sophisticated enough to distinguish between a real site consisting of hundreds of thousands of personal Web sites and someone trying to stuff the index with bogus content. They ought to be able to find a way around that -- especially since there's a finite number of sites like yours out there.

ethan -- Rich - The more responsible search engines recognize the problem and are working on it. But it requires a real conceptual shift, and all the engines are based on code written in 1994.

Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- AltaVista was set up to index every page. And they do cover Tripod very well. You might want to suggest to your members that they go to AltaVista and at the bottom of the home page click on ADD URL and then enter the URLs of each and every page. Then they'd all be in there, boosting traffic for them and for your site as a whole. (Waiting for a crawler to randomly find everything can take quite a while. With ADD URL, your pages are indexed usually by the next day.)

ethan -- Rich - AV is one of the few that seems capable of accepting every submission they get. Lots of the others will reject Tripod and Geocities pages as a matter of policy.

TracyM -- One problem my students have with Geocities is not being able to have a business-oriented web site there (at no cost). Does Tripod have similar restrictions...?

ethan -- Tracy - No, we allow free business sites. Actually, I "poderate" our Small Business Pod, a community of Tripod publishers who use their pages to run small businesses...

Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- I've set up a tiny page at Tripod as an experiment, but haven't had the time to explore as I want to. Do I remember correctly that in addition to Web space you also let users set up their own chat rooms and forums and encourage the use of ICQ for instant messaging?

ethan -- Rich - Premium users are allowed to set up chatrooms like the one you've got here. We like ICQ, but we don't actually distribute it. (We're distributing AOL's instant messenger at the moment...)

Sudha Jamthe -- Ethan: I missed your earlier messages as I just joined. Can you tell me more about tripod. Web-Net members are always looking for new sites and services

ethan -- Sudha - Hi. I'm with Tripod, a homepage hosting and community site located at We host pages (for free) for 250,000 users worldwide. 

Optimal size for communities of interest?

ethan -- One of my main concerns is finding the right size for online communities. I feel like our 250,000 members can never be a single community, and that we'd be better off building interest communities of 50-300 people. What do you folks think? Is there an ideal size for an online community?

TracyM -- About size, Ethan. I'm wondering if subgroups could be run in a community to generate interest. I'm on an experimental mailing list now that is a support group of sorts limited to 15 people. And we're generating 30 posts a day and really bonding. Members are breathing a sigh of relief now actually because we've lost three members and are down to 12....

ethan -- Tracy suggests subcommunities of about a dozen people. Any other thoughts on sizes for electronic communities that work?

Kaye Vivian -- Ethan, I think you are right...50-300 is probably realistic. I have participated in various communities for about 5-6 years now, and regardless of how many people are signed on or registered, you probably won't have more than about that many reading with any regularity at one time. And my experience is that there are normally about 7-10 people who are really active around any single topic...unless you happen to hit on one that has more universal relevance. For example, in one professional group I am in, there was a hotly debated dues increase proposed and it expanded into what benefits people get from belonging to the organization. That had about 30 people posting almost daily for nearly two weeks. That's the most active flurry I have seen. And frankly, it was too much! People don't have time to read all those messages...which may be the reason more don't participate actively.

ethan -- Kaye - I think that's a good description of how Usenet communities work - maybe 300 people reading, but usually 7-15 posting.

TracyM -- More on the subgroups the cuff...Am imagining a series of subgroups, perhaps via chats or message-boards, on a common theme. Say in a music community, one for folk, one for jazz. And then some kind of project that bonds all the subgroups....Like each subgroup has some kind of common purpose or project, and the results of all are put together in the larger community. Or perhaps some kind of contest between them. The team spirit builds involvement....

ethan -- Tracy - That's what I mean by pods "budding". I'm hoping my small business pod will bud off pods on webpage design businesses, home-based craft businesses, etc.

Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- I don't think size matters, if all the pages are fully indexed at AltaVista etc. people will be able to find what they want when they want it. Rather than dividing the pie up all sorts of different ways, make it easier for your members to submit their pages to the search engines. Then (with AltaVista at least) you can create pre-formed queries to let people find at your site the pages that are most relevant to their interests. [As I described here under "Multilingual" .]

ethan -- Rich - I just worry that at a certain point when you can't know all your neighbor's names that a community space loses some aspect of conviviality.

ethan -- Kaye - I'm inclined to agree and not slice our pods too small. But it interests me that chat rooms on Tripod rarely seem to exceed 12 people.

Kaye Vivian -- Ethan, I guess I was talking more about moderated message boards than chat rooms particularly. Yes, I chat needs to be a much smaller slice! :) 

Distributed Web sites -- piggybacking on free Web offers

John Watkins -- I've heard that some web content providers use the free sites as secondary storage sites for content too large for their "regular" sites. True? Reasonable?

sean -- John - Yep! I even know of professionals who have their own domains and virtual servers, but they stick the graphics on free sites so they don't have to pay for bandwith.

TracyM -- Sean - I do precisely what you said. I use about 900mb of bandwidth per month on my primary site, so I keep posting some of my stuff at Geocities and linking to it....

ethan -- John - We see lots of users storing pages at Geocities, Tripod, Angelfire, AOL and in other places, creating huge distributed sites across the web. We'd be pretty upset about professional sites using our servers to deliver their graphics, though. That said, I'm sure it happens.

TracyM -- Well, Ethan, I don't use free sites to deliver my graphics, but rather information for students....

ethan -- Tracy - No objections to that - as long as we can put an ad on your pages. :-) The behavior we object to is the creation of "image dumps", serving images off our servers without serving pages, which steals bandwidth and doesn't let us compensate by selling ads. 

Ads on free Web pages

TracyM -- Ethan and others - one problem I have with ads on pages however is what it can do to design. Some of us who are design-conscious (I only will allow blue, white and gold colors on my page) can be really upset by what ads do to our pages.....But not being able to use ads can limit one's ability to generate income.

ethan -- Tracy - We're working really hard to get ads off members pages, and into a frame, an interstitial or a Javascript sidebar. But it's hard to get members to accept the need for advertising.

sean -- Ethan - Do you think Tripod may become a victim of the "Law of the Commons"?

ethan -- Sean - Can you elaborate? I assume you mean that our resources will be abused because they're free and no one has an incentive not to overuse them.

sean -- Ethan - I don't think that Tripod or any other service will be able to offer free space forever. I believe that at some point, you'll get overwhelmed. Do you think you'll be able to offer free space forever?

ethan -- Sean - We'll be able to offer free space as long as our users create great content. We have users whose pages generate 15,000 ad views a day. We're happy to give those users space indefinitely... and they support lots of other users as well. 

Business model -- partner with large corporations to put their employees on-line and to provide unique services for their employees

Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- Also, have you considered partnering with large corporations that might want to encourage their employees to set up personal Web pages (for the experience and also as a company benefit) but who wouldn't want those pages on their own servers? Sounds like an opportunity (working with personnel/benefits folks) -- winding up with pages from employees from the same company somehow grouped together and identified, like a club.

ethan -- Rich - The large corporation idea is an interesting one, but I don't know if Intel employees want to hang out with each other on the web. What do you folks think of the idea?

Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- you might want to talk to David Cuthbert at Groceries to Go. One of his approaches to selling groceries over the Web is to try to partner with corporations (personnel depts.) so people can get their groceries delivered right at the company parking lot at the end of the day. I believe that there are a wide range of offerings that companies like yours could make to corporations -- you are giving for free something that the employees would consider a benefit. But unguided, without a prod and some form of offer (with explanation of how to do it) from the company most folks today wouldn't be ready to make the move. The company that partners with you would end up looking very high-tech and forward thinking at nothing more than the cost of promotion; and you could grow in chunks, rather than one at a time. Just a thought. I could imagine companies like yours and Groceries to Go getting together to make package offers of that kind to corporations.

ethan -- Rich - Thanks for the suggestion. I'll look at the Groceries to Go site. 

What kind of content attracts traffic?

sean -- Ethan - What kind of pages generate the most pageviews at Tripod?

TracyM -- Good question, Sean!

ethan -- Sean - There's no one class of most popular pages at Tripod - the field is very diverse. We have a lot of very popular sports pages, some great music and entertainment pages, some good pages with technical (programmer) resources. It's a very diverse and mixed bag. 

Seeking special content to attract traffic

ethan -- Rich - One thing we are investigating is partnering with other sites that have strong content competencies around a specific interest. For instance, perhaps we'd partner with Sportsline around a sports pod. We hope to be announcing a deal with a TV studio soon to build a partnership around a popular scifi TV show.

Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- thinking sports, I was just in London talking to the folks at Reuters who are putting together a new international high-profile sports page called Sportsweb (I believe). I mentioned Tripod to them, suggesting that around their core of current, high quality news content, they should try to build a gray area where sports enthusiasts can get together and share thoughts and contribute content.

ethan -- Rich - The Reuters idea is exactly the sort of thing we're trying to do under the title of "Partner Pods" - we're great at building those "grey areas", but we need partners with the professional content.

Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- If and when Reuters gets back to me on Sportsweb, I'll give them your name as a contact. 

Helping hosted sites attract more traffic

Richard Seltzer -- Ethan -- with some of your users developing non-English content and actually building communities, do you do anything to help like match up with like? or is it simply up to the individual site to do that? do you, for instance, check the usage logs to see which little sites are getting the most traffic and then try to work with them to help them draw even more?

ethan -- Rich - We occasionally work with individual sites to help them with their traffic. (We once flew one of our most popular publishers out to Williamstown to get her advice on a new toolset and to talk about building a community around her page.) We do look at those logs very carefuly to try to get a sense for what new pods should be build and whose pages would help lead people to the pod.

Sudha Jamthe -- Ethan: Thanks. I am not picky about ads on my page as you offer the space free. How many such sites/people do you have? Do you plan to organize them as communities of particular interest?

ethan -- Sudha - We've got 600,000 members, 250,000 of whom maintain pages with us. We're beginning to give users the option to join "pods", which are groups of members united around a common interest. "Poderators" feature great member pages in a weekly newsletter and lead weekly topical chats for pod members.

Sudha Jamthe -- Ethan: Thats very interesting. We earlier had discussions in this chat about what builds a community and how businesses can leverage it. What do you see as the extra cost of manintaing pods and communication among them - in terms of extra staff, bandwidth and mailings etc

Professionally published Web sites are losing money -- where is this headed?

sean -- Professionally produced websites are losing money. Lot's of people are creating their own websites for fun. Will the Web turn into one big Webzine?

Richard Seltzer -- Sean -- I'm not sure what "one big Webzine" would be. If you mean the informal, social, spontaneous communication of amateur and personal email and Web publishing, that sounds great to me.

sean -- Rich - In the publishing world, there are the professional publications and there are 'zines and newsletters. While sites such as Slate and MSNBC struggle to increase viewership, sites like GeoCities are attracting even more visitors.

Richard Seltzer -- Sean -- Amen. I believe that the Web is a great place for works-in-progress, for discussion, for connecting with people. Pseudomagazines that try to move traditional style content to the Web -- at high cost for the writing and the design -- are very likely to fail.

ethan -- Sean - I actually see the web getting more amateur lately, rather than more professional. A lot of the search engines are recognizing that there's a great value to showing off content created by "real people".

sean -- If this trend continues, will professionally produced content disappear?

ethan -- Sean - I don't think professional content will dissapear, but I do think professional content providers are embracing amateur content and using it to make their sites appear more "authentic"

Richard Seltzer -- Sean -- I don't believe that professionally produced content will disappear. But the companies who are in that business need to adjust their models. If they are going to pay big bucks for good words, then they should cut back on what they spend for graphics and special effects, and they should use that content as the starting point for discussion, rather than the final word. The bulk of their content should come from their users/visitors, like letters to the editor. The paid stuff becomes the seed, not the whole thing.

ethan -- Sean, Rich - Content is _EXPENSIVE_, especially as compared to user created content. Small VC funded sites are discovering that they get more bang for the buck out of chat, conferencing and homepages. After all, we're busily creating content for Rich's site right now... 

Content for multilingual Web sites?

Bill Dunlap -- Here's a question about content for multilingual Websites. Eventually, with more and more Websites taking on several languages, there needs to be content in each language. Would it be best to combine translations of the English content already produced, along with locally written content from countries speaking the languages of the Website? Does anyone have any ideas on how to approach how to use content to build traffic to Websites, say, in Germany and Japan?

Richard Seltzer -- Bill -- Good question. I'd say that a good first step would be to use the keyword Metatag to add some foreign language findability to your pages. If the page is in English, then in the metatag put the most important words and phrases in other target languages. If it is in non-English, then use the metatag for English.

ethan -- Bill - It's a great question. We've seen that localizing content is incredibly expensive, and that localizing tools may be a better idea. If we do any international deals, it will likely be based around translations of our pagebuilding software, not around our traditional content.

Richard Seltzer -- Bill -- Keep in mind that AltaVista now has "language tags" so you can search for content in a particular language. If all the pages at your site are indexed at AltaVista, you also can use AltaVista as the index of your site and do it language-by-language. (Hey, that's starting to sound too complicated to explain on the fly like this. I'll try to give details in a followup message with the transcript.)
Followup -- At Altavista, each query generates a unique URL. That means that when you do a search (which could be quite complex) you can bookmark the URL of the search results, or can cut and paste that URL and link to it from a page of your own, so you can easily launch that same search and get fresh results whenever you want. Hence, if all the pages at your Web site are indexed at AltaVista, a search for host:yourdomainname (in my case, will give a list of all the pages at your site. And a search for +host:yourdomainname followed by other search criteria, will search for those terms only at your site. And a link to the URL for the search +host:yourdomainname could make it easy for anyone to use AltaVista to search only at your site. (See how I do this at my site With Language Tags at AltaVista, you could fine tune this capability, having links at your site that let your visitors use AltaVista to search your site for content in specific languages. If you have further questions on this, send me email at

Bill Dunlap -- Richard, I was actually thinking about using content on a non-English site -- articles, for instance -- to draw traffic. Xerox in Germany has just asked us to promote their German Website, and I'm wondering whether to suggest a combination of German translations of articles on Xerox' U.S. Website, plus some articles of local German content. What do you think? Or am I overlooking any other ways of using content, besides articles? (I think chat is too advanced to use in the German online community, but I may be wrong here.)

Richard Seltzer -- Bill -- Whatever you do, you want to have your users become major providers of content for your site. You should have some core content available in all languages, but that then is the starting point for users to contribute in their local language. Over time the various language/cultural areas diverge to meet the needs of the audiences that are building them. But if you tried to do it all yourself, the cost would be prohibitive.

ethan -- Rich, Bill - Using your members to create localized content is a great idea in the long run. Our most popular webpage ( features news in Chinese about Chinese sports. That's content that Tripod never could or would create, but it's hugely appealing to some users.

sean -- Ethan - I agree. The most popular forum on my site concerns Iranian soccer. But how do you convince advertisers to sponsor that kind of content?

ethan -- Sean - Yeah, Iranian soccer is big with us too. Advertisers won't sponsor an Iranian soccer forum, but they might sponsor the category "soccer", and advertise on the Iranian soccer forum along with a few dozen others.

Richard Seltzer -- Bill -- For Xerox (and for anybody), try to develop ways to make it easy for users to contribute related content in local language -- that could include forums or chats (with edited transcripts) or simply soliciting and posting letters to the editor. The more user-generated content the more interesting and compelling the site is likely to be, and also the less costly it will be to maintain.

Kaye Vivian -- Bill, I have only limited experience with multilanguage sites. It seems to me that you would want some consistency of content across all the countries/language areas, though, depending on what the purpose of your web site is. But to me it makes good sense to have original content in each of the language areas, because culturally your readers may have different interests. For example, it might be wrong to assume that cultures which traditionally "get to the point" in business slower than Americans do want to have the same information on the opening screen. Perhaps more indirect messages or a less "aggressive" communication style is called for in those instances. 

Localizing for a "local" rather than an international audience

TracyM -- Speaking of localizing --- any suggestions for building LOCAL community, rather than INTERNATIONAL community. When one's work is LOCAL, an international audience adds pizzaz, but doesn't always help one's work life....

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Tracy, I too am interested in localization. I believe the only way to accomplish it is to make your content pertain to the community you are in. Make the community aware of your site via any means possible and attempt to make local organizations get involved.

ethan -- Tracy - A lot of local content sites (NBC's Interactive Neighborhoods, are hoping to add community services, letting people build local communities online.

Miki Dzugan -- Tracy, I have difficulty seeing how the Internet benefits a local audience as much as distant folks of common interest.

TracyM -- Miki - I think that the Internet could benefit a local audience if you created connections with people of a common interest who are local, but don't find it easy because of their schedules to meet in person. Then occasionally you could have some in-person meetings. The combination of online community and face-to-face meetings I think could be a real-community builder. I think that's what happpened a lot at the Well in San Francisco.

Miki Dzugan -- I am working with the Chaska, MN Chamber of Commerce to drum up interest in their membership for participation on their Web site. The biggest success so far has been to post companies looking for employees on a Jobs page. But this is the community reaching out to other geographic areas, rather than talking amongst themselves.

Sudha Jamthe -- Miki: Localization and customization was the top topic on the net a few months back. You are right. You'd be interested in attracting local folks who can become your prospect than a larger number of international audience who may never buy your product or service. My take on this is that if that's your goal, you should attract local talent by marketing to them thru traditional channels and using the web to retain their interests. One example is MA Online which focuses on bringling local businesses in Masachussets online. They market to the local shops in local papers/media and frame the web site to post on the walls of the local restaurants. I think its very innovative thinking.

Miki Dzugan -- That is a good point, Sudha. Chaska is a small town and just beginning to get involved on the Internet. They can walk to most shops around, so Chamber site is being used more as a window on the world. The site is heavily promoted in Chamber meetings and local publications. It will take time for more people in the area to use the medium.

Sudha Jamthe -- Miki: Very interesting. Am just inquisitive, where is Chaska on the map? Such a town can use it to grow globally by presenting a common picture of what they can offer to the world. You might not use it to bring local people together as its easier to do in a town meeting than online. What do you see as the usage of internet in your town?

Miki Dzugan -- Sudha, if you go to the Chaska site at and follow the "Where the heck is Chaska?" link it will show you that Chaska is actually within the Twin Cities metro area in MN. I see the site as a communications tool between Chaska and the rest of the world. The topic had been raised about creating a local community on the Web and I was trying to picture how one could do it in this situation.

ethan -- Miki - I also live in a small town (5000 people) and I can't imagine interacting with most of them virtually, because I interact so often with them in real life. This may be a problem your Chamber of Commerce site will face...

Miki Dzugan -- ethan, that is exactly it.

ethan -- Miki - Consider yourself lucky, in one sense. Lots of people don't have the luxury of living in a functional community. :-) Long live the small town!

Richard Seltzer -- Miki -- Check my article/book introduction on "flypaper" at The first step in building membership and participation should be to list all the names you can come up with -- people and companies -- on plain text pages, and get those pages indexed at AltaVista etc. The first thing people do at search engines is look for themselves and friends and stuff that's close to their personal experience. Only after they do that do they search for information. If you have people listed, they will find you while looking for themselves. Then you can invite them to submit their email addresses and URLs, etc. for addition to the list, and provide opportunities for them to begin on-line discussions with one another...

Miki Dzugan -- Richard, what a good idea. We already have the Chamber directory on the site, it would not be difficult to make static pages to list.

Richard Seltzer -- Miki -- the more names the better, and just be sure to add URL at AltaVista and the other search engines.

Kaye Vivian -- Tracy, one of my clients has 40 US offices and a national web site that gives each local office the opportunity to create its own "local" web site with its own URL (for example, The New Jersey office (only one in the state) has the same issue you do...they are really only interested in reaching the New Jersey client base and have struggled with how to do that. They approached it several ways. One was to put up a "business card" listing on the New Jersey Online web site to be sure that people looking for their services would be able to find them. The other was to create a web page on the company web site (almost ready to publish!) that was very local in focus. It gives some of the same types of information that that New Jersey Online site gives (links to local businesses and arts organizations, local government offices and representatives, etc.), but they also reproduce articles their own office personnel have written in trade and business publications, list local office job openings, provide local office partner bios, a local office e-mail directory...and they are starting a discussion group. One of the hot issues in the area is the construction of a new highway link that will have an impact on the community, so that is one of the issues the moderated Board is going to launch itself with...making it a good place to have the discussions that surround the issue from a business standpoint (i.e., the business impact the construction will have on the local merchants and traffic, etc.). What's interesting is that they have created a whole "communications plan" for the message board. They are going to advertise it locally, mention it in all local business publication articles that they author, do some PR releases on it, etc. They have considered creating a separate domain name for the forum also, but I'm not sure that has been approved internally...the parent company wants to make sure that the domain name keeps the forum linked to the parent company. 

Encyclopedia Britannica

Sudha Jamthe -- Talking about search engines, has anyone checked the new
encyclopedia britannia search feature. They say since all search engines don't give exact articles but 1000s of possible sites as result, people will come to EB to search in their new directory. I donno if its any diferent from Lycos A2Z. Has anyone tried Eb at

"Free content" business model -- World Wide Information Outlet

TracyM -- In regard to content...I just found a site called the World Wide Information Outlet at which provides free content. Anyone can submit an article with copyright and a 10-line signature file/advertisement which people can reproduce on their web sites. Free publicity! 

Internet job titles

Sudha Jamthe -- Tom: I notice you mentioned you are web manager. I am interested in knowing how the latest internet job titles rank? We are looking at 'Webmaster' as a promotion in a manager cadre and looking for what is the growth path? In this context Webmaster is the intranet architect and internet stratgist. Do you have nay experience to share in those lines?

Kaye Vivian -- Su and Tom, regarding Internet/web communications titles: I believe Webmaster has become the title of choice for people on the IT/MIS side of web communications (reflecting their knowledge of and involvement with the technical side of things), where Web Manager (a title I also hold for one client) reflects the person in charge from the content/communications side. In many of the larger corporations I'm seeing new and interesting titles evolving to give breadth to the person who is over *both* areas...for example, the head of a multi-discipline task force that oversees internal and external web communications might be called the Director of Web Communications or Director of Interactive Communications (to differentiate them from the normal corporate communications activities people). I believe it's the Ragan Communications site ( that has an interesting listing of recent web communications titles. They put on quite a few Intranet seminars and have surveyed attendees about what their titles are. That might help you, Su.

TracyM -- Good suggestions, Kaye....Have been contemplating doing something similar.

Sudha Jamthe -- I think Webmaster is evolving to be more of a functional title. I recently saw Tim Horgan of with a title VP of Internet Strategy/Webmaster and he has many webmasters working for him. 

How to register a domain name

Nancy Laurine -- Who do you contact to set up your business name on the internet,ie.

Richard Seltzer -- The simplest route is to ask your ISP to do it for you. If you want to do it yourself, check for details.

Placeware -- experiment/speech Tuesday November 4

Sudha Jamthe -- Ethan: As technology evolves to provide better tools, such communities can eveolve within a work place. Placeware Inc, a Palo Alto firm has a new web interface and online auditorium that can facilitate audio and chat type of interactions. Richard can tell us more about it as he is preparing to speak at Placeware auditorium organized by Web-Net on November 4th. We are looking into using it within our intranet to see if we can use it for online company wide meetings and get togethers. Check They are offering this on a trial basis for free now.

ethan -- Sudha - I think tools like that make great sense in large corporate environments where people frequently don't get to interact in person. But I hope that corporations never forget abour the importance of face to face interaction. 


Richard Seltzer -- All -- I love it when the content comes so fast that there's no time to read it all. Don't despair. As usual, I'll post an edited (threaded) version of the transcript within the next couple days. There you'll be able to catch up on what you've missed and then email me your further thoughts for inclusion. Check

Richard Seltzer -- All -- time is running out all too fast. Please, before you log off, post your email and URL addresses, so we can stay in touch (don't count on the software to have caught it).

ethan -- Folks, I need to duck into a meeting in a moment. You can reach me at I travel a lot, so if it takes me a day to two to get back to you, please forgive me.

Kaye Vivian -- Kaye Vivian ( Thanks, Richard...will look forward to the transcript.

ethan -- Thanks, everyone, for your questions, and Rich, for the invitation. A pleasure meeting you all.

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- All As usual I have enjoyed visiting this community ! See you all next week. Bob. Cottage Micro Services 103 Vinyard Drive, Waxahachie, TX 75167 * Web Hosting * Design * Outsourcing * Contract Programming *

TracyM -- Thanks, Richard and all....I'm at Hope to continue here in the future...

Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Berthold. Sorry you only came in at the end. Please check the transcript and send email with your thoughts.

TheForth -- Yes, Richard, I will check it. I missed it again and was just about to write you an e-mail. Will do that anyway. We have to catch up on you Moskau trip. Talk to you soon. Cheers Berthold

Kaye Vivian -- Mike from Russia...Please do try to come back. I am married to a former Russian and have quite a few Russian friends here in the US. I would like to know more about what you are doing there by way of electronic communication and community building! :)

TracyM -- Two announcements if I may, for Boston area people - I'm organizing a dinner for professional Internet people to discuss how they set, deal with fees etc. Am posting information in regard to it at the free message board site at on my Windweaver message board there, board #161. It will be either November 14 or 16....

Sudha Jamthe -- TracyM: Please post the meeting announcement to web-net mailing list at as many will be interested.

TracyM -- Also - am teaching my first course (three Monday evenings starting 2nd week in November) on Internet chat and conferencing, focusing on IRC and maybe ending with ICQ. It's at the Cambridge Center for Adult Ed, and I need 2 more people for the class to run...They're at 617-547-6789.... Internet Conferencing and Chat....Will be a lot of fun!

Richard Seltzer -- All -- next Tuesday, I'll going to do an on-line "speech" at at 7:30 PM Eastern Time on the subject of "The Social Web" -- the same kind of thing we're talking about here. Check for details. (You'll need to download a plug-in in advance). We're doing this to test out a new auditorium and audio style of holding a meeting. Please connect if you can.

Kaye Vivian -- Richard, I like that you keep stretching us outside our normal interest areas. :) Keep it up. :) Bye, all..logging off.

Sudha Jamthe -- Thanks Richard. See you next week. Bye everyone.

Miki Dzugan -- Bye for now. Richard, I have been watching Placeware -- or trying to for some time now. I'll be interested to hear what you experience from presenter point of view.

Richard Seltzer -- All -- My inclination for next Thursday is two-fold. I'd like to do a post-mortem of the Placeware capability -- talking about what works, what doesn't, how this might be used by businesses and what else is out there that's like this. And I'd also like to continue our discussion of the social aspects of today's web and the business implications. Please send me email with your thoughts

Richard Seltzer -- Looking ahead, on Nov. 20, I'd like to move along to talking about small-scale commerce on the Web. Acunet has a project called Bazaars that will make free/low-cost store fronts available to the masses, just as Geocities and Tripod are making Web sites available. Looks like an interesting idea, and I'd like to get your reactions.

Richard Seltzer -- Thanks to all. Great discussion. Please join us on Tuesday if you can for the Placeware thing, and then next Thursday, same time, etc. Send email with your followup thoughts for inclusion in the transcript. 


Community course

From: Tracy Marks <> Date: Sat, 25 Oct 1997 12:53:24 -0400

ZDU doesn't have the description up yet or the instructor, but they're offering an online course soon called Building an Online Community. You can sign up to be notified when the class date and information is set:

Their classes are great - I've taken two of them - and they're only $4.95 a month.

Tracy Marks, M.A. 


Worthwhile URLs for Web designers and marketers

From: Tracy Marks <> Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 19:43:17 -0400

Richard - The site has some worthwhile articles for web designers and marketers.

Community is Dead on the Net; Long Live Collaboration

How People Read on the Web

Inverted Pyramids in Cyberspace

Top Ten Mistakes of Web Management

Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design

Tracy Marks, M.A. 

Review of "Community Networks" by Cohill/Kavanaugh

From: Tracy Marks <> Date: Sun, 12 Oct 1997 20:57:16 -0400

Richard - I thought this might interest you (though I know you're out of town) Better not post it without getting permission of the reviewer, Rob Slade.

Tracy Marks

Date: Fri, 3 Oct 1997 12:41:05 -0400

Reply-To: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan & Trevor" <>

"Community Networks: Lessons from Blacksburg, Virginia", Andrew Michael Cohill/Andrea Lee Kavanaugh, 1997, 0-89006-896-8, Artech House/Horizon,, $39.00

Andrew Michael Cohill

Andrea Lee Kavanaugh, 685 Canton St., Norwood, MA 02062

In the last chapter, analyzing success factors of the Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV), one of the points is to "Show, do not tell, community members how to use the technology as a way of increasing use of the network in the community." This same point applies to the book itself. It succeeds, where many other books on similar topics failed, primarily because it shows the actual workings of a functional, and functioning, electronic village. This puts it far ahead of blue-sky proposals of what might (or might not) become possible in the future.

An introduction and historical background leads into discussion of architecture, evaluation, democracy, education, business, technology, information management, history database, and the aforementioned success factors. Economics are touched on in various articles, but it is a pity that an overview treatment is not included.

Still, any such flaws are far outweighed by the value of the reality and experience that the various authors bring to the task. Blacksburg has validated certain promises of the information age -- and challenged others. Planners of information infrastructures, national or otherwise, ignore it at their peril.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1997 BKCNLFBV.RVW 970320

From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan & Trevor" <> Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 16:04:06 EST

>We're discussing "the social Web" and "communities" in our weekly chat

>session on Business on the World Wide Web. One of our regular

>participants forwarded the attached review of yours to me. I'd very much

>like to post it with our transcripts for participants to read and

>consider. Do I have your permission to do so?

Sure, that would be fine. There are other reivews on similar topics in the Victoria Freenet archive site (I think the menu filename is mnbkinis.html). See the archive sites below. (I notice that your forwarder stripped the archive sites list.)

for back issues:

AV contacts :

list, reviews,:

review FAQ and:

AV tutorial :

Viral Morality:

PC Security:

Book reviews:


Book columns:

Freebie Mags:

RobertS Rules of Internet Order:

Negative distance ed experience

From: Ed Jaros <> Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 23:31:39 -0600

All is well here in Green Bay. Keeping busy with two part time teaching jobs and my full time contract job as a Netware Admin at Procter and Gamble. Lots of hours but worth it.

Been following the chats when I can. Some interesting conversation, especially on on-line training. My wife is taking a MBA class with the professor off site. The class lectures are piped in via modem (not on the net) She hates it and so does the off site instructor. Says it is like watching TV and the instructor is tied to the desk in front of the camera so he can't walk around or be animated. The fax doesn't always work and she feels it to be very impersonal.. especially for the money.

Hope all is well.


Forum One Report

From: Tracy Marks <> Date: Sat, 01 Nov 1997 20:05:43 -0500

The Forum One Report which comes out monthly is worth subscribing to, to receive current information about forums on the Net. Here is the current issue....It may be reprinted.

Tracy Marks

FORUM ONE REPORT: News from the Web Forum Sector November 1, 1997

* COMPUSERVE FORUMS MIGRATE TO WEB: CompuServe, generally regarded as theonline "forum pioneer", is moving 500 forum areas to the web later this year. Web users will have browsing rights for free, but will need to pay a subscription fee (yet undetermined) to post messages (and access other subscriber features). For more information, see<>.

* LYCOS LAUNCHES COMMUNITY AREA: Lycos has launched a major community area comprising chat, message boards, personalized e-mail and other features <>. Lycos becomes the third major search engine with community areas, joining Excite and Yahoo (HotBot has a more restricted community area, Infoseek and AltaVista no community areas of this sort).

* PATHFINDER RELAUNCHES FORUM AREAS: Pathfinder, one of the largest forum areas on the web (comprising all Time Warner publications), has relaunched their entire forum area. Pathfinder retains forum areas by publication (People, Time etc.) but has added new "cross topic" capabilities (indexes and searching). In switching software (from an internal package to Web Crossing), they appear to have dropped all legacy postings. See <>.

* SALON SYNDICATES: Salon Magazine <> has signed distribution deals with partners to syndicate Salon editorial content. Partners are AOL, CNET, Netscape Communications Corporation, Desktop News, WebTV,, and the PointCast Business Network Connections. Although these agreements bear more on Salon editorial offerings than Salon's extensive forum areas, they would appear to clear the way for forum syndication. Salon previously signed a newspaper syndication agreement through United Feature Syndicate.

* TALK RADIO, WEB FORUMS MERGE: Popular talk radio programs are increasingly including online forum areas for their listeners. In a number of cases, radio hosts will broadcast while simultaneously logging into the forum, allowing an interplay between on-air and online discussions. Fortwo examples of this, see NPR Talk of the Nation <> and the Michael Reagan Talk Show

* MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE ON BUSINESS-BASED COMMUNITIES: Online Inc. is sponsoring "VirComm", a management conference focusing on "expanding the impact of virtual communities". Scheduled for February 3-4 in Orlando, VirComm is the first conference that we at Forum One Communications have seen dedicated exclusively to web-based communities. For more information see <>.

* FEATURED FORUMS: Forum One's two featured forums in October are of interest to nature enthusiasts: Nature.Net <>, and Finch World Forums <>. Additional featured forums can be found at <>.

*** FEATURE ***


How frequently do web forums come and go? Given new technologies, uncertain economics, and vagaries of web development, do forum areas last?

Forum One Communications recently reviewed 700 web forum areas which had registered over the past 18 months (essentially since web forums first appeared). Of these 700 forum areas, we found:

627: still functioning

73: unresponsive (either gone, server down, or moved and we can't find them).

Comment: 90% of web forums polled are still functional. This was a much higher figure than we expected. We know anecdotally that many groups launch forum areas and then are disappointed by results and take them down.

These polling figures suggest, however, that the great majority of groups are continuing forward.

Please write us if you have information which should be included in a future Forum One Report!

FORUM ONE REPORT is a monthly publication prepared by Jim Cashel <> and Dave Witzel <> of Forum One Communications Corporations. If you would like to be included in or excluded from this mailing list, please write Comments and information are welcome.

Republication of part or all of this report is allowed as long as Forum OneCommunications Corporation is credited.

Forum One Communications maintains the Forum One Index

<> tracking over 122,000 web discussion forums, and also provides consulting services to organizations building or maintaining online communities.

Forum One Communications Corporation e-mail: web:

San Francisco Office (business operations): Phone: 415 512 8856 Fax 415 512 9409

Arlington Virginia Office (technical operations): Phone 703 237-8537 Fax 703 237-8274

On social webs and sleep patterns

From: Blair Anderson <"Blair Anderson"> Date: Tue, 04 Nov 1997 06:44:19 -0500

A very interesting transcript.. which I read because I was asleep at the time...

I think this "being asleep" is critical to "social webs", and I submit evidential, in the evolution of the net social fabric.

To expand the notion further, as I have written and commented many times in the past, time is both the community builder and atrophier.. time distills interest domains... if it doesnt restrict your interest group during the formative relationship building time availabilty is certainly tested as we move to interactive sychronous communications.

I know, I was asleep.. and it cost me.. and you, and all the others on the list.. my vital and dynamic inputs, that were I not be utterly facetious, belies the relevence of what I am saying...

Time is a "local" builder and a "barrier" to distance communication across latitude..

The Internet is evolving into "orange segments", delineating social webs to within latitudinal quartiles..

This is not a new phenomena.. it is compounded by the emerging sychronicity of the Net and radically impacted by daylight saving.. itself a local influence but with macrotic effect.

How many am I leaving behind here..

Let me explore the dynamic just a tad further for those that might really care about my sleep patterns...

Sleep will reinforce the social barriers because across the 25 hour clock (yes the world does have a 25 hour clock.. New Zealand is GMT -13hours putting me 2 days in front of everyone else for 1 hour in 23. )

While the individual circumstance of New Zealand is relevent to yours truly.. about 2.5 billion people dont give a tinkers rectum... which probably accounts for IBM's management reaction to my submission that the rest of the world is wrong, by stating that "New Zealand [and FIJI's] time problems are just a cosmetic abberation"..

OK.. if its just a cosmetic abberation.. how many "x-border capital flows are exploiting time windows to gain a day's interest.. highlighted by overnight interest reaching 200% during the recent collapse of Asian sharemarkets".

I can show you how you can give me a million dollars for an hour, and I can give it back to you the day before you gave it to me, and it will make us both money.. BIG MONEY. Why, becasue nobody cares.. computers calculate interest based on time.. even when it goes backwards...

That's one instance of the societal contraint to time that not one single e-commerce banker in the world has provided an adequate answer for.

But thats not why I was asleep...

I was asleep because "you guys in Boston" didn't tell me (or my computer) about your daylight saving time movement (let's all jump to the left )

Now, before I am castigated.. I didnt tell any one else in the world that New Zealand had changed to NZ Standard Time + 1 hour (let's all jump to the right)

And that's why I can get replies to mail, that arrive here, before I sent the original...

Because the globe has a tilt.. its your Winter, and my Summer... which is a good reason to travel.. and for having daylight saving, but it's the time transition that continually challenges the "organised" synchronous event.. ( I need not explain why the international traveler is challenged by the digital watch at this point.. )

International travel impacts the individuals sense of time "occasionaly" albeit profoundly. Adjustment is a slow process..

The Net "travel", the synchronous event, is like picking up the phone... but its current Social Web has evolved from an asynchronous paradigm.. the email/Listserver user defined "windows on time"..

Even within the atypical country challeged by time zones.. at least zones that occur within the window of the same day.. there is a conditioning, a societal maturation that "makes it so".. and the difference in disturbing the outcomes is comparable to or nothing more that the dinner going cold, or missing 7:00 news...

Ambulances still arrive after you phoned them... there is a sense of time.. that even if you got it wrong, it is easily accomodated in the social understandings.. and you can phone later.. (immediacy favours local webs)

But to put the influence of a dateline down the middle, in a scalar perspective.. the world of Social Web interaction changes..

History testifies to this.. thats why New Zealand declared war on Germany before anyone else did, it shot first shot in anger, took the first prisoner, sunk the first ship, and suffered the first collatoral damage..

We even knew JFK was dead, before he had even arrived in Dealy Plaza.. (factoid: see Oliver Stone, "JFK".. scene, Christchurch Airport, CIA agent reads "The PRESS".. front cover shows report..)

I know, it a pathetic excuse for being asleep at the time..

But there you have it..

As we move to "real audio" interaction.. will I loose the "transcript"..??

Will I loose the searchable content.. ??

Will I loose the social interaction.. ??

or consider....

Will you loose me as a friend and colleague..

>From a marketers standpoint.. Social Webs: if they are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem...

Gotta go, tomorrows window of opportunity just rushed by..

Blair Anderson

Electronic Commerce, Encryption and Electronic Rights Management, Techno Junk and Grey Matter, Corporate Technology Consultants, 50 Wainoni Road, Christchurch, New Zealand

More chat/conferencing info

From: Tracy Marks <> Date: Wed, 05 Nov 1997 00:12:13 -0500

The fall Internet User has an article called Chatting Up a Storm: Attracting People to Your Site with Chat. It reviews chat clients for web sites, messaging clients and virtual offices. High on the recommendations list is Rooms 3.0 (http:/ for chat rooms; ICQ ( for messaging; and Netopia Virtual Office ( for virtual offices with chat rooms.

Most of the article appears online: Zdnet reviews Chat Software

with related articles at: Zdnet reviews Text-Chat clients

Zdnet reviews Conferencing Software

I also have a list of Web Designers' forums and chats up at and a list of top forums (not chats) on the Net at

And I'm just finishing my 10 page online tutorial on basics of IRC for chat and conferencing (for my course on the subject, which starts November 10 at the Cambridge Center for AdultEd and needs one more person!).....90% of it's up at:

My irc bookmarks

Tracy Marks, M.A. 

Web Rings

From: Tracy Marks <> Date: Wed, 05 Nov 1997 03:59:54 -0500

INTERESTING article about Web Ring's sale to Starseed and its future revamping. Currently, 200,000 personal sites are part of Web Ring (, which is now seeking content-high business sites...Let's talk about this at CHAT!!!

'Web Rings' Emerge as Alternative to Search Engines By Andrew Marlatt

Excerpt ----

"Our overall goal is to make Webring more of a starting point, something more like Yahoo or AltaVista," said Sage Weil, Webring's director of technology....Adding 1,800 sites a day, and with 18,000 rings linking nearly a quarter of a million sites, Webring may seem well on its way to prominence... Weil recently sold out to Starseed, an Ashland, Ore., technology firm that is revamping Webring's marketing and advertising and giving the site a facelift, due to be unveiled Jan. 1.

"To attract more members and strengthen topics that "deserve more exposure," said Joe Kasmer, the site's marketing director, Webring plans to start rings itself and solicit other sites to fill them. The first rings to be begun in-house will be business-related, he said, as large advertisers are most likely to be interested in those sites.

"The key to attracting advertisers, Lanusse said, is increasing traffic and proving that the traffic is a good buy.....Webring is seeking more commercial pages, which now constitute only 5 to 10 percent of its sites."

ALSO another feature about Web Rings and their upcoming changes:

Tracy Marks, M.A.

Definition of Web Rings

From: Tracy Marks <> Date: Wed, 05 Nov 1997 16:24:08 -0500

Webrings are a series of sites - anywhere from 5 to 1000 - linked together by theme. Themes may be anything - from Windows 95 to Seattle web sites to Madonna fan pages to free backgrounds to computer hackers to ice skating....

.....Some are highly selective about sites they include; others are not.

On the opening page of each site, there is usually a small web ring icon which links to the next site on the ring, and to the index of all sites that are part of that web ring. Currently, has over 250,000 sites involved in its 15,000+ webrings, and it's now expanding to include more business sites with high content, not just personal sites.

More info at AND their very comprehensive subject directory is at

(I just added my IRC tutorial at to the IRC-Help-Pages webring, so you can see the Webring icon etc. at the bottom of the first page -- though I don't think it will work till later tonight, since it's not yet activated by webring "headquarters")

There are other webring organizations, but is the biggest....Also, the Internet Rail is a kind of webring... (I have two separate site entrances on my Windweaver site for junctions to the Press Train and Windows Electric trains of the Internet can check out the rail from OR )

If one doesn't want to put webring or rail icons on one's site, one can always create a small separate opening page for a webring or train.....

Again - there aren't too many regional webrings yet...but a list of some of them is at

Tracy Marks, M.A. 

Previous transcripts and schedule of upcoming chats --

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